Editorial note: It’s good to hear more than one voice. I’ve been thinking about opening this door to others to write something of significance to share in this community. I shared this idea with someone you probably know. She presented me this morning with what follows. It reminded me of you, of your passion, and our shared mission.
This is the blog Peter won’t write.
If you follow him, it is the one post you should read this month. If you read here faithfully, I imagine you know Peter as the voice behind the Ucompass blog, the voice that speaks for the customer, and the voice that represents the teacher. You likely picture him sitting or standing behind a monitor typing away, often introducing a new function in Educator. Since January, 2013, every Thursday like clockwork, he talks to you from this site and teaches you the secrets of Educator that continue to evolve in order to make your jobs technologically simpler, more efficient and more engaging. He also shows you how Educator plays a role in student success. You probably think of him as the voice of your LMS.
Like all of us, however, Peter is not just one-dimensional, and once again, this past weekend I was reminded of who he really is and what he really does and why he does it …
We had agreed, after talking about it for over a year, to really, really, really clean out our garage that had become a home for wayward spiders and a timeshare destination for wasps and junk that no one could quite throw away. The mess had grown over the years and one corner of the garage had been designated as Peter’s dream corner.
Flagler Rams flying field
Eight years ago, when we moved into this house, he had lovingly set up that corner with his remote control model planes and all the accouterment to design, build and fly those models.
For eight years, he had held onto the dream, while the dream collected dust in his little corner of the garage.
Twice in all those years, he visited the airfield, but he just never quite had the time to get back into his hobby.
Fast forward to a few days ago. Finally, he was ready to admit that the dream hobby was from days gone by, and he just would not be rebuilding that corner of his life. He packed the trunk to overflowing, loaded the back seat, stacking planes and parts and tools to the car’s ceiling and shoved the overflow into the passenger seat.
A tiny fraction of the dusty dream.
“I’m heading to the airfield,” he announced.
“Wow,” I said. ‘That’s lots of money there. How much do you think you’ll make?” I asked, as I knew the guys in the RC club always swapped, bartered and bought supplies when they were flying planes.
“None. Not going to sell this stuff.”
Suddenly, I had visions of him unloading the car and putting everything back in the garage. We were never going to get it cleaned out.
“Ugh! Aargh!” Hoarding was the word that was coming to my mind.
Then, he said, “I’m going to find a kid.” And he got in the car and left … just like that.
When he got to the field, he spotted a young teenager, standing and watching. The kid was watching with that look shy kids have when they want to learn, want to do, want to blend in and just don’t quite know where to begin.
He just wanted to learn, to do, and to blend in.
Peter introduced himself and soon learned the kid’s name was O’Ryan, and he was with his grandfather with whom he was visiting for the summer. He had always wanted to learn to fly, but the planes, and the parts, and the crates full of tools … all of it was just an unaffordable dream for him and his grandfather.
Peter began to unload the car as he continued talking to the kid. The flyers began circling around. They were offering to buy this or that. One by one, Peter said, “No.”
Finally, he asked O’Ryan if he would take care of the piles of remote-control fun. O’Ryan’s eyes got wide, as he assured Peter he would, but then, disappointment seeped in. “We can’t afford this,” his grandfather said.
“Well, it’s my gift to you both. I sure hope you two have fun together.” With that, Peter got into the car. He had found his kid. Peter turned to the grandfather and said, “Help O’Ryan. Make him read the books, and help him.”
And they would find each other.
And that’s what jazzes Peter. That’s what excites him about you. It’s what he likes about Ucompass and why he works this blog space. Through the work you do, through the new developments in Educator both large and small, and through his belief in the work of the FLVS/Educator partnership … every day, in some way, he gets to “find a kid.”
~ Pam Birtolo